David Price strikes out career-high 12 as Rays shut out Indians

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David Price struck out 12 over seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout in the Rays’ 5-0 defeat of the Indians on Friday.

Price outdueled Josh Tomlin, who was far and away the hotter pitcher entering the game.  Tomlin, who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his nine starts while going 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA, gave up four runs over six innings in this one.  The home runs finally did him in; it was the fourth time this year that he gave up two bombs, but this time, both came with men on base.

Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld were the unlikely home run hitters.  They had combined for three in 283 at-bats this season entering the day.

Price allowed four hits and walked two in the 110-pitch outing.  He struck out 10 or more batters for the fifth time in his career.  His previous high for strikeouts was 11, established against the Twins on May 30, 2009 and matched against the Diamondbacks on June 26, 2010.

Price improved to 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA.  Those aren’t the kind of numbers he posted last year, when he was in the mix for AL Cy Young honors.  However, he currently has a 1.06 WHIP and a 68/13 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings, suggesting that his ERA should keep declining.  Last year, he had a 1.19 WHIP to go along with his 2.72 ERA.

Steven Souza says the Oakland Coliseum dirt caused him to hurt his hip

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Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza blames the field conditions at the Oakland Coliseum for hurting his hip. He left Wednesday’s game after sliding into second base on a steal attempt and says the dirt was to blame:

“I went to slide, and it was extremely muddy around second base. My leg got stuck in the ground, and I just kind of felt a jump in my hip. That didn’t feel very great . . . “I don’t know how it got real muddy out there, but it was not OK. I’ve never actually slid into a major league base like that and stuck and felt like I was going deeper in the ground.”

He wouldn’t be the first person to find fault with the Coliseum, but he’s the first person I can remember lodging this particular complaint. At least before the Raiders start playing and mess up the field for football season. Souza had a hip injury last year, though, so it’s understandable if he’s a bit more sensitive to it all. At the moment he’s day-to-day.

In other news, the A’s are said to be closer than ever to getting a new stadium. Like, way closer than they have been for the past decade in which they’ve been looking to get a new stadium.

The Brewers have been “aggressive” in their trade talks for Justin Wilson

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I love the trade deadline. Yeah, it’s cool that players get traded, influencing pennant races and all that jazz, but I also love it for the terminology.

So many “internal discussions” and so much tire-kicking. Just today I heard that a team has “gotten some feelers” for a player. That sounds kinda dirty, but in a good wholesome PG-13 sort of way. It’s two solid weeks of euphemism, really.

Sometimes, though, it gets scary. Like the way the Brewers are said to be talking about Justin Wilson of the Tigers:

I suppose if you’re “hanging on for dear life” that even the worst behavior can be excused, but I do hope that Brewers GM David Stearns is not threatening to rough up Tigers GM Al Avila or anything. Can a trade made under duress caused by threats of physical force be vetoed by the commissioner? An interesting analysis to be sure, even if it’s only speculative for now.

As for Wilson, I suppose the Brewers would have to be aggressive. He’s probably the most sought-after pitcher on the market at the moment. The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that 10-12 clubs were in on the left-handed reliever. He has a 2.75 ERA in 38 appearances and is striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings. He’s textbook trade deadline fodder, and the Tigers will likely get a nice return for him.

But please, Stearnsy, don’t hurt ’em.